A turning point came for the mum-of-two when she was so embarrassed by how she looked that she didn’t want to be naked in front of husband Shawn.
Determined to change, she switched her sugary snacks for seasoned vegetables and a daily 30-minute workout with her children Mia and Leon, six and four.
She incorporated them into exercises – using them as weights and squatting with them on her back, which helped her to lose more than 38kg.
‘Before, my diet was bad,’ Mareike, a health and fitness coach, from California, admits.
‘I would cry every day when I was getting dressed because nothing fit right and I was even wearing maternity clothing three years after having my last baby.
‘I was so embarrassed of my body that I didn’t want my husband to see me without clothes on, which made it difficult for us to become intimate.
‘That was one of many turning points for me, I realised I couldn’t keep living the way I was, so I started eating clean and exercising.
‘Every day I would do a 30-minute workout video with my children, as they were never in day care so they had to do everything with me.
‘I used them as ‘baby weights’ holding them while I exercised, while squatting and used them in my different exercises.
‘I had no other choice, it was either incorporate them into exercise or not exercise at all.
‘Now my daughters love it. I’ll ask my oldest if she wants to do yoga and she yells, ‘no, I want to do this exercise’ then starts doing jumping jacks or burpees.
‘The exercise is giving me and my children a better life as they get to see their mum happy and energetic instead of depressed on the couch.’
At her heaviest, Mareike had a body mass index of 38, meaning she was clinically obese according to the World Health Organisation that states a healthy BMI ranges between 18.5 and 25.
She believes she suffered from body dysmorphia, only realising her weight had spiralled out of control when seeing a photograph of her and her children in 2014.
Mareike started her journey, by initially switching her excessive chocolate consumption for one cocoa flavoured meal replacement - helping her to lose almost 3kg in her first week.
She also started eating clean and to speed up her weight loss, performed a half hour workout six days a week.
‘At first I found it incredibly hard to complete the exercise videos and struggled without modifying the movements, but the important thing was that I always finished them,’ she says.
‘Another small thing I did, which people forget, is to season their vegetables, for example one evening I’d steam them, other nights I’d make spice mixes from Italian to Mexican.’
Now weighing less than 63kg, Mareike has learned to love body and is closer to achieving her teenage dream of having a six pack.
‘Now I like catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror because I know I look good and am not afraid to be naked in front of my husband.
‘I do have stretchmarks and some saggy skin but that doesn’t take away from how I feel about myself and the situation, I’ve worked hard to achieve this.’
For more information visit: www.noexcusefitmom.com/
Mareike's diet before and after
Breakfast – nothing
Snacks – two large bowls of sugary cereal
Lunch – large portions of pasta with creamy cheese sauce
Snacks – one wholegrain vegan cake
Dinner – three servings of pasta with cheese
Dessert – chocolate cake, bag of chocolate, crisps
Breakfast – yoghurt with fruit and nuts
Snacks – cucumber
Lunch – beans with a large salad and seasoned vegetables
Snacks – vegetables, nuts, yoghurt
Dinner – lean steak with steamed seasoned vegetables
Dessert – chocolate flavoured protein shake